Professional networking is a crucial and socially fulfilling part of advancing in any career field, especially nursing. From discussing the latest blood pressure technology with your new nurse team to welcoming a traveling nurse to your floor, networking in nursing presents numerous golden opportunities to make key connections.
Experts agree that no matter your profession, social networking is crucial. For nurses, potential positive scenarios abound, whether it’s meeting an APRN who galvanizes you to continue your nursing education or developing a group of supportive colleagues where you share your ambitions, ideas, and challenges.
If you’re a registered nurse looking to grow your nursing career through nurse networking, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading as we uncover the importance of networking in nursing and how you can approach it with creativity, tact, and intention.
What are the Benefits of Having a Nursing Network?
As a practicing nurse, you know that your profession is demanding and rewarding in equal measure. No one relates to this more than fellow healthcare providers. Try as your family or friends might, it’s hard to empathize or commiserate about specific healthcare scenarios unless you’ve worked through them.
But networking for nurses extends beyond finding your work bestie or coffee pal. Research demonstrates that professional networking in nursing has several benefits, such as:
- Career advancement – Hiring managers, physicians who own a private practice, and HR personnel are often deluged with applicants for new, coveted positions. Networking fosters connections that may serve you well when you’re actively looking to move from your current role and secure a new gig. Naming a nurse you know in the facility you’re applying to, receiving a professional recommendation, or reaching out to a nurse leader who may have some influence on hiring decisions can help you stand out.
- Enhanced work environment – It’s common knowledge that nurses work exceptionally long hours, especially if you’re on three 12-hour shifts per week. Building a solid, nurturing social network of other nurses can give you the support you need to feel competent, comfortable, and at home in your work environment.
- Improved patient outcomes – “Happy nurses, healthier patients. There’s research indicating a direct correlation between a nurse’s satisfaction with their job and stronger patient outcomes. Networking for nurses enables you to turn to your peers and leaders to:
- Receive counsel on how to handle a challenging situation
- Gain insight into a medical condition that may be outside of your expertise
- Join forces to advocate for policy change within your healthcare facility
- Stay up on the latest nursing trends and patient teaching skills
Your contentment, as well as your patient’s health and wellness, is often dependent on the social system you have in the workplace.
- Enriched personal and professional development – Whether you’re fresh out of nursing school or have worked as a pediatric nurse for decades, networking in nursing can prompt you to keep striving personally and professionally. A brilliant colleague could just as easily become your gym partner and provide you with self-care tips, while another could inspire you with their experience with per diem nursing agencies. Humans are inherently social creatures whose survival and success hinge on the relationships they nourish.
Types of Connections
When it comes to networking for nurses, there are several types of connections worth pursuing. These may include:
- Operational connections – Operational networking refers to building connections within your operation, or with the healthcare professionals you work alongside. Whether it’s a travel nurse on assignment or your nurse leader, these connections can serve as your daily dose of support, contribute to a more enjoyable work environment, and provide you with the knowledge you require to thrive. What’s more, the relationships you have at your job are an imperative part of receiving a glowing recommendation for future positions or continuing nursing education.
- Strategic networking – Strategic networking in nursing is more deliberate than developing a rapport with the other nurses and healthcare providers in your office, hospital, or medical center. This could include APRNs you meet at conferences, or nurse leaders you reach out to on LinkedIn. These connections are sought out to fulfill a professional goal, whether it’s to learn more about a nurse specialty or to secure a nurse mentor.
- Personal connections – Networking for nurses doesn’t preclude networking outside of the healthcare industry. Staying in touch with friends and classmates who work in other fields may naturally lead to a referral, or news about a medical facility that is opening and may be of interest to you.
Simply put, there are countless ways to connect with other healthcare pros, and each connection you initiate and sustain may have its own pluses.
5 Tips for Networking in Nursing
If the idea of networking daunts you, keep in mind that you likely network in one fashion or another regularly—even if you wouldn’t identify it as such. Discussing the latest healthcare news with your colleagues in the breakroom, meeting with your boss to review the quality of your work performance, and responding to a blog post authored by an RN are all forms of networking.
That said, there are a handful of specific ways you can elevate your networking efforts. Let’s peer at five of the most beneficial.
#1 Expand Your Networking Approaches
Networking isn’t confined to your present working environment. To broaden your social network of professional connections, consider:
- Attending healthcare conferences – Conferences can be goldmines for meeting industry leaders, like-minded individuals, and specialists. Additionally, conferences can give you something to look forward to, rejuvenate your passion for nursing, and give you a break from your daily grind (all while bolstering your career).
- Connecting with old acquaintances – Networking in nursing isn’t entirely about meeting new people; it can be just as beneficial to connect with former classmates and colleagues. Ring up a friend from nursing school you lost touch with, or check in with the RN you once shadowed. You might be delightfully surprised by the power of resurrecting a friendship.
- Joining associations – There are a host of organizations available to nurses. These communities can encourage and ease networking while also supplying you with targeted resources and opportunities for education. You can ask your nurse leader for recommendations or check out one or more of the following:
- The American Nurses Association (ANA)
- The National League for Nursing (NLN)
- The American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS)
- State Nurses Organizations and Chapters
#2 Utilize Social Media Networks
Twitter, private Facebook groups for nurses, Instagram, and YouTube can all enable you to connect with nurses wherever you may be in the world, no matter the time of day. And while you might not have hours to spend on social activities around your busy schedule, spending just 30 minutes per day can launch you into new conversations and research.
Social networks for nurses can also help you:
- Connect, collaborate with, and share with other healthcare professionals in real-time
- Find emotional sustenance
- Learn about new trends in the nursing profession
- Stay apprised of job opportunities
- Strengthen your confidence and authority
Just remember to practice proper etiquette on social media, follow HIPAA regulations, and refrain from any sort of online behavior that could damage your credibility or reputation—or, in a worst-case scenario, place you in a legal bind.
#3 Use Networking Apps
Healthcare providers may have access to platforms that are specifically designed to help medical professionals cultivate connections with their colleagues. Some have certain requirements—for example, Doximity is available to Nurse Practitioners but not RNs. But all in all, each promotes networking.
#4 Network With Intention
For many, networking is shrouded in a touch of mystery. What does it mean, exactly? And how can you go about it efficiently?
While every professional, nurse or otherwise, may have a unique understanding of networking, the second question is a cinch to answer: Define precisely what you hope to obtain from your networking endeavors, or practice that strategic networking we brought up earlier.
For some, this may mean finding a nursing mentor; for others, it might entail meeting five nursing specialists in five separate specialties to help them figure out their next academic and professional steps. Plan smartly, and you can reap more rewards.
#5 Follow Up With Your New Connections
There’s an enormous difference between meeting an NP at a conference and vaguely referring to the event in a future cover letter, and immediately emailing said NP to say that it was a pleasure meeting them.
In other words, always follow up—and in a timely manner. You might also want to make a note in your phone when you insert a new professional contact, such as where you met and when, and what you discussed. Networking isn’t an isolated meeting; it’s about continuing, and deepening, engagement.
Jumpstart a Successful Career in Nursing With MAS Medical
Networking is a vital component in every industry, including the nursing profession. Connecting with other medical professionals who understand your day-to-day work can fuel your professional growth and advancement, introduce you to a nursing specialty that resonates with you, and boost your overall career satisfaction.
MAS Medical Staffing is your partner in introducing you to a worldwide nursing network. As one of the highest-ranking travel nursing agencies in the U.S., we work diligently to find you nursing positions that align with your personal and professional goals. Health insurance, same-day pay, a housing stipend, and ongoing, customized support are just a few of the perks we offer our members.
Schedule a consultation with us today to discover one of the brightest and most beneficial ways to network: On assignment in an exhilarating new place.
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